The owners of a pet kangaroo who resided in Sumner County, Tennessee, have hit out at their neighbors over their alleged role in the death of their beloved animal.
According to Pix11, Carter the kangaroo was strangled to death on Wednesday evening after he was spotted outside his usual confinement area.
Carter’s owners, Hope and Chris Lea, were contacted by their neighbors who spotted the kangaroo outside of its normal area though still on their fenced-in property.
The news outlet reported that the neighbors asked the Leas, who were not home, for advice on helping coax the animal back into its enclosure.
They told them where they could find the kangaroo’s feed to help lure Carter back into his confinement and said they would be back home within an hour to deal with the issue, still according to Pix11.
By 5 p.m. the authorities had been alerted to reports of what Sumner County Sheriff Tim Bailey described to Pix11 as two people “who had been in a battle with a male kangaroo.”
The report said that the female neighbor was assaulted by Carter after stepping onto the Lea’s property. Her husband then reportedly intervened, strangling the kangaroo to death.
Neither of the two neighbors were badly injured in the attack, however, the Leas are reportedly calling for some kind of restitution following the death of their beloved pet. “We’ve had Carter since he was a little nugget,” Hope told the news outlet. “It’s like losing a family member.”
The killing has left the Leas stunned and confused, given that the kangaroo had no way of escaping the fenced-in property.”He didn’t have nowhere to go,” Hope said. “He was choked to death in his own space.”
She said it is not just Carter’s owners who have been left bereft. When they returned home all of their younger kangaroos had gathered around his body. “I was screaming because all of the babies were standing around his dead body and I was just so upset,” she said.
Newsweek has contacted the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office for comment.
Though kangaroo attacks are rare, they can prove fatal in certain circumstances.
Ian Temby, who had spent over 30 years with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in Australia, explained to The Age in 2017: “If you’re standing up, the kangaroo can kick you with its hind feet and that can pretty much rip you open. That’s extremely dangerous.”
He added: “You need to crouch down low and back away, get away, and get a bush or a tree between you and the kangaroo. It’s not going to chase you far.”
Kangaroos have certainly proven to be dangerous in the past. In 2020, a man was assaulted by one on Christmas Day while another woman was left fearing for her life after being caught in a kangaroo stampede.